This museum was originally a cathouse that operated until 1988. In Wallace, brothels like it were some of the top businesses in town. Some even donated to the local schools and the police department. At the Oasis, the madame even bought the local school marching band’s uniforms.
Because the town was so successful from mining and the sex work, the police would turn a blind eye to the technically illegal operation. Oasis would have five girls work 16 hour days, which resulted in estimated profits of one million dollars per year.
An FBI raid of the town finally shut down the brothels. In January 1988, Madame Ginger received a tip about the raid, and she immediately had her girls grab their items and head out.
It was believed that Madame Ginger would re-open the bordello once things calmed down; however, the FBI stuck around Wallace for years, investigating the corrupt sheriff. In 1992, the local sheriff of Wallace, Frank Crnkovich, was charged with using his office and seven deputies to protect the brothel. He was acquitted of all charges due to the lack of witnesses.
It’s rumored that some brothels continued to operate after the FBI raid. But Oasis remained locked up until 1993, when it was sold. The new owner had found everything inside just as Madame Ginger and the sex workers left it, including clothes, toiletries, drawings, liquor, and even food in the fridge (which actually has a warning sign on the front not to open).
Know Before You Go
Tours are given every 30 minutes and last approximately 25 minutes. On the tour, you will have the opportunity to view the sex workers' rooms and items some left behind, including Madame Ginger. In her room, you can even see a list of johns and their contact information prior to the raid along with the cost of the different “activities” offered at the bordello. Pictures are not allowed during the tour.